How Tiny Robots Could Remove Pollutants from Water?

Life on Earth is highly dependent on water resources and when water gets contaminated, the quality of all life deteriorates. With so many solutions in progress and rarely any significant results, one must wonder is there anything that can help decontaminate water resources. Well, there just might. A study has revealed that magnet-powered nanorobots can successfully remove pollutants from water.

Where conventional water remediation methods have been less effective in treating contaminated water, nanotechnology has emerged as a ray of hope. A 2021 study examined the applications of nanotechnology in identifying and removing water pollutants.

The research team, led by Martin Pumera from the University of Chemistry and Technology in the Czech Republic, developed thermosensitive magnetic nanorobots with a pluronic tri-block copolymer, which primarily works in removing pollutants, and iron oxide nanoparticles that offer magnetic thrust.

Magnet-Powered Nanorobots to Remove Pollutants from Water

Image: Wikipedia Commons

These nanobots are 200 nanometers wide and are powered by magnetic fields, permitting the researchers to regulate their functioning. Interestingly, these devices do not require any fuel to operate unlike other nanobots and can be used more than one time. It makes them eco-friendly, sustainable, and cost-effective.

Published in the journal Nature, the study showed that the uptake and release of contaminants in the surface water are controlled through temperature. At a low temperature of 5 degrees Celsius, the robots spread in the water; but at 25 degrees Celsius, they joined and captured any pollutant between them.

The research team performed 10 tests for the study, which concluded that nanorobotics can remove about 65 percent of the arsenic in 100 minutes. According to Pumera, the technology is scalable and his team is currently in contact with wastewater treatment companies in hopes to move the system to a bigger level.

While the application of this technology and provided results do seem intriguing, they are rendered practically useless in low-temperature areas. Moreover, there are many questions regarding the implementation of the same. What becomes of it in the future, will be an interesting thing to follow up on.

Via: ZME Science

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